First off, my workshop went very well yesterday. That's exciting.
If you happen to be in the Dingle area (that is, in Ireland) on Tuesday, please come by the Dingle Bookstore to hear me read from the project I'm working on. We'll be there at 7:30 and it'd be great to see you in person.
So that's fun news.
Now for an embarrassing story.
I took my afternoon nap today, and I woke up because a gaggle of people had come into the hall outside my room at the BnB and started talking loudly. I was then reminded that no, it wasn't four in the morning and I couldn't sleep anymore, because there was a lecture from a famous Irish author, Kevin Barry, that was about to take place in the parlor room across the hall.
I jumped up, my hair in my face and my jeans sagging, and I grabbed my bag and my keys and my phone, and I ran out of the door ... right into a red-headed dude in a striped shirt who was very obviously Kevin Goddamned Barry.
"Hello," he said, and me, still half-asleep, muttered a "hello," trying to get around him and the landlord's daughter who was fangirling him. But then he put out his hand. "I'm Kevin."
Well, of course you're Kevin.
"I'm Jen," I muttered. And he said, "Good to meet you," or something, or maybe he didn't, but I definitely did scuttle, and I used that word earlier, but it was indeed a scuttle, I scuttled away from him and into the parlor room.
"Cheers?" he said after me.
And I wanted to die.
I'd signed up to have dinner with Kevin Barry and sit next to him, and I let someone else have my seat. Ted asked me why, and honestly it was because I needed a place to kick out my leg, but we know me, and if I really wanted that seat, I would have said damn be to the leg and done it anyway.
I'm not good at talking to famous authors. I'm not good at talking to strangers. And I'm not good at talking to strange famous authors who I run into with my fat hair in my eyes and one shoe in my hand.
Kevin was an amazing reader, and I absolutely adored his book. I wish I had the courage to tell him that. I know that I will need to get better at talking to impressive people if I'm not going to be trampled over in this world. But it just wasn't happening tonight.
I went out with my fellow students to a pub, where we listened to Irish music play. The more I delve into Ireland, the more I feel like I'm entering my father's world. I feel close to him out here, a quarter of a world away, and it's stirring up a lot of feelings that I'm sure would make a good poem if I was a poet. I think I'm going to need a couple of years or something to suss out everything this trip means to me, but I do know I won't be forgetting it soon.
I started scribbling things down while I listened to the music, but I bet none of it is any good.
I'll just put the first line here:
When my father was in Ireland, it never rained.
Today is my day to workshop.
I'm going to try to write my blog during my two-hour break in the middle of the day. We'll see if this actually works. It could pose a problem. For example, I'm getting workshopped after lunch today, so I can't really tell you how it went, and not much has happened in the last six hours that I've been awake, and I told you everything up to that point in my last blog.
So far, I've written some exercises that worked out well. We were supposed to write our childhoods in twelve sentences, and mine turned out really well. It is all about my grandmother, and I wasn't expecting that. In twelve sentences, I covered all of the things I feel about her death and losing the apartment, and it's a travesty that this is the biggest thing that happened to me when I was a kid.
When I was fifteen, my grandmother was moved out of the apartment. And I don't think that the grown ups at the time understood what sort of an effect that had on us kids. That apartment was our home, and losing your home so suddenly and brashly can make it so you never really feel the same way about anything again. It's silly how such a small act in someone else's story can be a turning point in another's. And it's weird how after all these years, after everything my childhood entailed, the loss of the apartment was the thing I spent twelve sentences on.
I am one for justice in the world, and I don't think there will ever really be justice on that act. Maybe that's why I keep writing about it, keep thinking about it. Who knows.
I also wrote a poem for Alex, entitled "Thoughts on my New Husband While Studying in Dingle." It was a horrible poem, since I'm not a poet, but Alex liked it, so I guess that's what matters.
And while of course it isn’t all the same,
It seems we two are the same.
I’m happy to report, in the big scheme of things,
We still hold up.
I see the way others speak for one another when they’re married for a handful of decades.
Tonight, one of the writers said, “After becoming one, you become two.”
Our love is as old as this harbor, as fortified as these cliffs.
You may be on the other side of the world,
In our small land I left three days ago,
But you are here, in Dingle, more than ever.
Told you it was, as they'd say over here, rubbish.
I also learned this morning that in Ireland, you don't do your own laundry. laundry is 15 Euros per bag, and while I'd gladly pay it, I've only gone through three of my ten outfits for the backpacking trip, and it seems a waste of money. Maybe in England I'll do some laundry.
And that is what this blog has become. Me talking to you about my dirty clothes.
So after fighting my little battle against forthcoming jet lag, one of my Ireland professors finally spoke up on Facebook and clued me in that what I was doing was not worth it.
I immediately went to bed and felt a billion times better.
The rest of the day was listening to music, planning the next scene in my book, and packing packing packing. I couldn't believe it was becoming real. I've got less than 48 hours and I'm on a plane to Ireland. Wow.
I decided to pull out those travel books I collected when I was a kid, and got excited about how close everything was. How beautiful Dingle is.
I then got to sit down with a full brain and write the first scene with Portia. Oh Portia. It was so much fun.
Kaitlin reminded me the other day that even though it's a dark story, there are going to be moments that will stick out to readers: the moments where characters connect with the readers. And I think that's helped me in this chapter that I wrote tonight. I remembered to have fun, to reach out and make the reader enjoy their time in this hellish landscape.
So thanks, Kate. You're a rock star.
Also, this is the most amazing musical ever, and I may or may not have been listening to it way too much:
You may start seeing these come in at weird times, because:
A. In order to get ready for Europe, I'm trying to change my sleeping schedule ahead of time. I start workshops the day I arrive.
B. I will be in Europe starting Tuesday, for a month, and if you're in the US, then that is going to be weird.
Currently, it's A. Currently, it's 5 in the morning here in the Midwest, and I am trying to wake up by doing something productive. Because I had to go to bed early yesterday, I will write a blog for yesterday now, and then somehow get another blog in either tomorrow morning at 4, or sometime during this ridiculously long and tiring day that hasn't even started yet.
So my Friday was productive, although I went through Friday in a stupor, thinking it was Saturday. We packed up our things and went to Village Inn to eat lunch and write. It was awesome. I actually got through a chapter and fixed something in the book. It was a good step forward.
The rest of the day was running errands, going to an eye exam, working out, all the fun things in life.
And now I'm awake, unable to let myself go back to sleep, and unable to actually do anything productive because I'm half awake.
It's dark outside. It's going to continue to be dark outside. I have to start getting up at 2 in the morning in a couple of days. What the hell is this torture.
What is this?
Dawson is a writer. This is her blog. In it, you shall read about reading. And writing. And cheeseburgers. Sometimes there are tangents. Huzzah.